The Brick Pit Ring

Durbach Block Architects: The brick pit is the last tangible evidence of a vast working industry at Homebush Bay. It is archetypal and primitive, raw, stripped and modified. The brick pit is first a place of extraordinary human endeavor, arrested. It is a portrait of land disturbance through use. Equally it is a place of adaptation, as an unviable industry is replaced by new sustainable technologies and a refuge for the rare and endangered Green and Golden Bell Frog. An aerial walkway and outdoor exhibition, twenty metres above the brick pit floor, the Ring Walk gives the brick pit a genuine urban connection and presence within Sydney Olympic Park. A simple ordering device, the ring walk facilitates both access and interpretation to the brick pit, while fully recognizing its extremely fragile habitat. The pure form and consistent level of the ring registers the shifting sides and depth.

The Ring Walk allows for both the ten minute walk and a longer layered experience, through widened and shaded sections of the platform. The outside edge of the ring is a variegated screen: part exhibition, mesh and glass viewing panels. Interlaced with interpretive devices, the ring provides visitors with perspectives into the history of the brick pit and its use as a wildlife refuge. The ring has two points of connection to the parklands: one to Australia Avenue and the Town Centre the other to Marjorie Jackson Drive and the extensive parklands beyond.

 

The steel structure is a slender and delicate intervention within the massive roughness of the pit. A braced cruciform structure comprising a series of improbably thin, flat steel members lightly touch the base. This attenuated structure appears to tip toe across this fragile site. The cruciform is capable of adjusting to the idiosyncrasies of the base terrain: extending the supports to the foundation of the reservoir or straightening to avoid a frog pond. Whilst the ring section opens outwards to the site, the bridge sections are enclosed and muted.

Design: Durbach Block Architects (Neil Durbach, Camilla Block, David Jaggers, Lisa Le Van, Joseph Grech)
Landscape Architects Sue Barnsley Design (Sue Barnsley, Kate Dewar)
Project Manager
Complete Urban Solutions : Scott Williams

Builder
GMW Urban : Bob Matchett
Structural Engineer Arups Pty Ltd : Tristram Carfrae
Taylor Thomson Whitting : Barry Young
Interpretation Soundscape CDP Media: Gary Warner Peter Emmett
Colour Consultant: Virginia Carroll

Graphic Design
Art direction & design: Eskimo
Design & Illustration: Peter Moore & Lyndal Harris
Project Management: Andrea Nixon

Awards
Selected scheme from Invited Expression of Interest and Concept Design
2006 Featured in the Venice Biennale
2006 RAIA Lloyd Rees Civic Design Award (NSW)
2006 ASI Architectural & Engineering Innovation Steel Design Award (NSW)
Completion: 2005

 

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